Introduction: Oven Element Repair
My wife was making potato wedges when in the middle of cooking the bottom oven element catches fire and starts to sparkle like a party sparkler. I run for my camera and when I get back to the kitchen its over my wife turned off the stove and when I turned the stove back on nothing happens.
I wish my wife did not turn off the stove so I could have gotten photos of the bottom element throwing off sparks it was neat. Oven blows up and no photos bummer, the white marks are from the electrical fire. Now if I take too long getting to the repair she might fix it herself like she does her computer.
My parents owned an appliance store in Toronto before they bought the farm north of Shelburne so if I repaired one of these I repaired a thousand. This repair usually takes about twenty minutes if you have the parts.
A point of note KNOW YOUR STOVE I can’t count the number of times I went out on a service call for my father on a long weekend just to turn on the oven so a customer could cook their turkey. They only use their oven once or twice a year and the timer had the oven turned off. Minimum charge 1 hour emergency and holiday double fee $250 an hour just to turn your stove on.
Now most repairpersons would come into your kitchen open the stove look at it and say yep it’s broke. Then they would take out the two screws holding the burner in place pull out the burner disconnect the wires and go out to their truck to retrieve a replacement burner. They come back connect the wires to the replacement burner, screw it in place, close the oven door, turn the oven on, and start to fill out the bill as he waits for the oven to heat up to confirm it is working. A lot of work for 2 to 3 hundred dollars isn’t it.
I’m not most repairpersons;I have all kinds of salvaged spare parts I just have to find out if I have the right oven element.
Now that the fun part is over it’s time to make an Instructable on how to repair an oven element?
Step 1: SAFTY FIRST
I cannot express this enough SAFTY FIRST, this stove runs on 240 volts at 30 amps that is 7500 times what is needed to kill you so turn off the power before you do anything inside the stove. If your stove is hardwired turn off the breaker or remove the fuses, don’t just loosen the fuses take them out. It may be a pain to go back and forth from the breaker box every time you want to test something but it is not as painful as being fried at 240 volts and 30 amps.
I am lucky my stove plugs in so all I have to do is unplug the stove when I want to do a repair. First I pull the stove out and unplug the stove, if you don’t get back there often this is a good time to clean behind the stove and retrieve your pet’s toys.
Smokey likes to make my wife retrieve his toys from under the appliances.
Step 2: Remove All Damaged Parts
Before testing; remove all visibly damaged parts and render all lines safe, they are a hazard that can be rendered safe and SAFTY FIRST.
Elements are connected by crimp on connectors that ether push on or they are screwed on ether way disconnecting the wires is easer from the back.
Remove the back cover of the stove and inspect all the wires, remove all damaged or burnt wires and cap or wrap in electrical tape, in my case this part was easy nothing was damaged in the back of the stove so I disconnected the leads from the bottom element and covered the crimp on connectors with shrink tube.
Step 3: Removing the Element
Now that the wires are disconnected from the bottom element it is time to remove the bottom element inside the oven, on this stove the bottom element is held in place with two screws. I take out the two screws, remove the element, and put the screws back in so I don’t lose them, they will be needed to install the new element.
Once I have all the damaged parts removed I sweep away all debris before testing.
Step 4: Testing
Now that you have all the damaged parts removed test what you have left, start by connecting your meter to the element leads, SAFTY FIRST do this before you plug the stove back in or turn on the power. Set your meter to the highest setting and only lower the setting if you need to, my meter only has two settings for AC, 750 volts and 200 volts so I set the meter for 750 volts.
Then plug in the stove and test all the oven functions, when on bake the bottom element leads should register source voltage, in my case 240 volts much higher than the 200 volt setting on my meter.
When on broil the bottom element should show 0 volts and the upper element in the oven should get hot. Close the oven door and wait for the oven to reach temperature and the broil element turns off, this tells you the thermostat works.
Once you have confirmed everything works unplug the stove and disconnect the meter from the bottom element leads.
Step 5: The Oven Element
The oven’s element is a steel tube filled with white powder and a filament like the one in a light bulb running through the center. This one got so hot it was throwing sparks like molten steel, electrical arks, and flames. The bubbling on the element you see is the melted outer tubing of the element.
An element should be black and smooth with no marks, on some blown elements it may be as subtle as a small crack or swelling in the element.
So I went through my spare parts and found three oven elements of which only one was close to the one I needed to replace. I could have used this element but I wanted one closer to the original and it gives my wife a chance to clean the oven without the element in the way.
I decided to put the stove back together so my wife could use the stovetop to cook and when my local appliance store opens on Monday get a better matching element.
A good repairperson will tell you when he is substituting a part for one that should work.
Step 6: Mondays Here
Well Monday came and the appliance and music store is open, yes they sell and repair appliances and musical instruments. The good thing is they have the exact element I need, $35.oo with taxes.
You can see how the new element is smooth and uniform compared to damaged one
Step 7: Installing the Element
Now that the oven has been cleaned I unplugged the stove and remove the backing and the two screws that hold the element in place. I put the new element in place and screw it to the back of the oven, then Iremove the shrink tube and attach the wires and put the backing on the stove. Once I have the stove assembled, I plug the stove in and push it back in place before testing the oven one last time.
Step 8: Final Test
You can just turn on the oven and see if the element gets hot however I like to check the thermostat one last time. You do this by placing an oven thermometer in the oven and watching it go through a couple cycles and checking the temperature seeing if it is the same as the setting on the oven control.
Step 9: The Repairperson
Weather the repairperson is a half-blind, grey haired, fat S.O.B. like me or not don’t expect them to clean the stove, and at one hundred dollars and up an hour that is an expensive maid.
Most repairpersons come into your kitchen open the stove look at it and say yep it’s broke. Then they take out the two screws holding the burner in place pull out the burner disconnect the wires and go out to their truck to retrieve a replacement burner. They come back connect the wires to the replacement burner, screw it in place, close the oven door, turn the oven on, and start to fill out the bill as he waits for the oven to heat up to confirm it is working. He works for 15 minutes and charges you the minimum labour, service call, parts, and taxes. Count on paying two hundred or more.
I spend a little more time testing and checking the stove and the oven element cost $35.00, total cost to me, time, parts, and taxes 30 minutes and $35,oo.
We have a be nice policy.
Please be positive and constructive.
Hi There, I have an old vintage Kelvinator thats a beauty but the bake element is broken and I'm having a hell of a time finding a matching replacement. I think that you have answered this before but if I find a similar element that fits would it be ok to use that? I have a weakness for old stoves/ovens and this is my second one.
That is a nice one; I like old stoves also, just for their looks.
It can be done and there are pro retro refurbishers but they can be expensive.
Start with the voltage and current, they must be the same.
The frame inside the oven needs to be the same size.
The challenge with yours is the element goes through the back wall of the oven in two places, and most newer elements use a single entry.
You would need to plug the old entry ports and cut a new entry port for the new element.
will a Whirlpool element work in a Kenmore
Yes the elements are made by the same people so if it is the same voltage size and shape the big thing is the connections, if they are the same, plug and play. If they are different you may be able to just change the plug.